"Sequoia" - built by US computing giant IBM - has overtaken Fujitsu's "K Computer" to become the fastest supercomputer in the world. Installed at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, it achieved an impressive 16.32 petaflop/s (compared with 10.51 petaflops/s for the K Computer), using 1,572,864 cores and 1.6 PB of memory, in 96 racks covering 3,000 sq ft (280m2).
This is equivalent to calculating in one hour what otherwise would take 7 billion people using hand calculators 320 years to complete if they worked non-stop.
Sequoia is also one of the most energy efficient computer systems. It draws about 8 MW of power, with an unprecedented performance of 2000 Mflops/watt, about 5 times as efficient as the Blue Gene/P design it is replacing. Sequoia will be used primarily for nuclear weapons simulation, astronomy, energy, studying of the human genome, and climate change.
Like many forms of information technology, supercomputers have been growing exponentially in power for decades with a smooth and highly predictable long-term trend. At current rates of progress, it should be possible to simulate an entire human brain and all of its neurons in real time by the mid-2020s.
You can view a full list of the fastest supercomputers at top500.org